With some restaurateurs, it seems that everything they touch turns to gold. Their restaurants and cafés run like clockwork, assured of success. Menus display team colours, service is as tautly trimmed as a yacht under sail, and there’s an assuring feeling of ‘wealth’, be it of experience or bonhomie. We as customers know we matter, that nothing is too much trouble, and that meeting our needs is of the utmost importance to the establishment.
That’s the feeling we get from GG’s.
With Patrik Gennari (Glass, Koi, Loose Moose and Roosevelt Lounge) as mentor to Maria Tsirling, Christelle Langlet and Roslind Williams, the co-owners, with the help of Space Cubed Design Studio have transformed the former Grocer and Grind in a mere two weeks. With the name and menu casting little more than a passing nod to the former health café, a sophisticated Parisienne café has emerged.
Reflecting the European origins of all the owners, reproduction oak bookcases, vintage wallpaper, lamplight lighting and arched windows reference the ‘café culture’ of the 1920s when it was fashionable to take a short espresso with friends overlooking the street.
“We are all made of stories,” says the illuminated wall sign, a reflection of Patrik’s own philosophy that all food carries the story of its origins, heritage and makers. And there are many stories to be told about GG’s.
For centuries, cafés have been the centre of culture in Paris, the gathering place for intellectuals to meet and debate philosophical issues, for lone book readers to bask in story alongside artists exchanging ideas and displaying their works, and writers and activists to meet and talk, drink and smoke.
In some cafés such as Les Deux Magots in Paris, there are name plates on the chairs of famous cultural figures who have sat there, such as Hemingway, Sartre and Picasso.
Cafés evolved to become a haven of those who liked to ‘see and be seen’, for romantic couples or, as they are today, a place to dine or catch up with friends, family and business associates over a snack, meal and drinks; no special occasion necessary!
GG’s references these past cafes but, unlike Parisienne cafés, it offers extensive menus that break the mould rather than following tradition.
From a Chia bowl with CoYo, fresh berries and house-made granola, Sweet potato toast with bacon, eggs and red pepper strawberry coulis to Pumpkin salted caramel waffle with maple syrup complete with a pumpkin pie protein ball, the breakfast menu is both eclectic in its range and on point with trending Gold Coast brekkies – beautifully plated world-inspired healthy, low GI and dietary-aware dishes using ingredients of the moment yet providing indulgence for those who want it.
Smartly, several dishes, including a choice of four ‘Nourish bowls’ ($19 each), continue into lunch fare, boosted by several burgers, with Fish of the day, Arancini, Risotto and Zucchetti bridging lunch and dinner, supplemented by woodfired pizzas.
“We wanted to create a venue with rustic food that people could come to any night of the week,” Patrik tells us.
That’s exactly what we find; a well-priced down-to-earth modern European-inspired venue.
Our meals revel in the bold earth-driven flavours of fresh herbs and spices: Hervey Bay scallops in their shells with chilli, garlic and herb crumbs, South Aussie mussels and Cloudy Bay clam hotpot in saffron tomato broth with fresh thyme and bay leaves, and Pappardelle worked through with a rich bologna veal ragu; timeless Mediterranean comfort food prepared with care.
Cocktails and a well-priced short wine list complement the menu perfectly.
With cosmopolitan wait staff who carry sophistication rather than a ‘too cool for school’ attitude, dining is a pleasure greeted with a smile.
“I’ll never forget where I come from,” Patrik tells us and, in this not-so-simple café he takes us on a journey beyond our shores, away to ‘free thinker zones’ broader than our own parochial inspiration.
Perhaps in time, like Les Deux Magots, GG’s chairs will boast the name plates of famous patrons who have transformed the Gold Coast with revolutionary ideas and inspiring stories.
Open: Mon – Tues 6am – 3pm; Wed – Sun 6am – late